An Early Start…..

Car boot 4As you may be aware Ian is currently in the process of finishing the utility room, as he has been for the last year. At nap time yesterday Ian disappeared and Becksie thought he had gone into the utility to ‘crack on’ as Ian would put it.

About 40 minutes later Ian was no where to be found. Becksie looked high and low only to find Ian tidying his bottom shed. This was on the premise of looking for a hinge but Becksie is sure it was a case of yet again putting the final touches off! To cut a long story short, Ian was left with a tidy (in fact nearly empty) shed and a lot of items that he did not need but were too good to throw away, so…. Continue reading


Derek and the Root Veg – A Guest Post From Grandad Gray

No this is not the name of an obscure 1970’s band but a reference to last night’s dinner. But first…..

Having been affected by the ‘Year without Supermarkets’ idea we were prompted to have a stay at home weekend and achieve a garden makeover and more.  My veg garden is usually very productive but 2012 has proved to be the most difficult growing season I remember in nearly 40 years of gardening. In March/April it was so dry that Thames Water called a hosepipe ban just when my seedlings were coming through. This meant a second sowing of most things. Then it started to rain and rain and rain and….. Grey skies no sun and seedlings that refused to move until July which was the same time that a heavily pregnant rabbit decided to take up residence. Six rabbits later I just about scraped a few lettuce, a half decent potato crop and some good root veg.

In this stay at home weekend we had a master plan to remove half the lawn and replace it onto the least productive area of the veg. garden, up against the wall. We then dug up a lot more lawn as the soil underneath seems fantastic. We now have 50% more productive garden as next season we plan to grow cake!

As mentioned we have quite a few root veg left so we gathered a parsnip, some turnips, a celeriac, some carrots, an onion and a few potatoes (which we found growing in the compost heap). Along with some herbs and some chunks of Derek these were put into the stewpot to simmer away as we gardened. A good job as when the task was finished we were too tired to cook.

Now really looking forward to using the new piece of ground, it really does look as if it will grow great cake. Already it has some crops on as we transferred our strawberry plants and a row of over-wintering onions which were where we moved the lawn to.

I know you are wondering about growing cake. Well taking a leaf from our entrepreneurial granddaughter, we have come up with the Veg for Cake Scheme. Now how about that for a good idea?

Vintage Rummage and Popcorn

Today saw Team Pugh have a stall at our lovely friend Becky’s vintage fair in the fair city of Birminghamshire! The first ever Brum Rummage was a big success and we left with £40 profit! Excellent and much better than a slap in the face with a wet fish! hehe.

Wet fish, not from a supermarket!

Whilst the grown up members of Team Pugh flogged vintage items little Pugh had a lovely day at Grannie and Grandpa’s house. As we knew she would be having a lovely time and we are so tired we treated ourselves to some bargin lunch out – yummy! We arrived home a little while a go to a cold house so the fire was lit but unfortunately the fire glass got smashed by a log (it was not Becksie this time – its offically one all now).  So as we had a big lunch and are slighty grumpy and even more tired than yesterday we decided to have sweet popcorn for dinner!!!!!!!!! It’s saturday, we’re tired and we ate vegetables for lunch – forgive us!

Here’s the how in case you fancy copying us!!!

Heat a knob of butter, a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of condensed milk (golden syrup would also work) in a pan.

Add the required amount of popping corn (unpopped popcorn) and heat and stir until coated. Transfer to a microwaveable bowl, cover and microwave until popped! Sprinkle with more sugar!!

Enjoy and feel no guild – Nigella would approve!!

Grandad Gray’s Guest Post

As Father to Mrs. Pugh I am very excited and encouraged by the ‘Year without supermarkets’ blog. It is now the first e-mail I open each evening. The whole concept is close to our hearts, as a family we have always tried to live well but economically.

I remember well an elderly gentleman I knew when I was a teenager, in the days when supermarkets were still a novelty, predicting that one day these supermarkets would kill off the small shops which were the norm in the early ‘70’s (Ironically as I write this The Sweeney is playing on ITV4). Being young I was sure he was talking twoddle but 40 years on it rings a very clear bell. Whilst the small shop is not yet history, by and large they are a struggling breed.

Taking a leaf out of the Pugh’s book my wife and I went to our local Post Office/Village Shop to get some ‘green’ to go with our evening meal. A large head of broccoli was purchased for £1.30 so not too expensive. Something that thrilled me was that it was served in a paper bag, something I haven’t seen in years. Also the purchase was achieved with some pleasant banter, great. My wife, who had been looking for a birthday card for ages found the perfect one for £1.45, again not bank breaking.

As we walked home I pondered two things. Firstly back in the day when paper bags were the norm and toilet paper was called Izal, we used to sit at nights ripping up those bags and rubbing them between palms. This softened them up and they made much softer toilet paper; for free.  Now there’s a tip for the Pughs.

My other thought was about broccoli. As it was weighed and paid for by the kilo we had ended up paying for the stalk which we usually throw away. As it was my turn to cook I wondered if the stalk was actually edible, maybe if cooked a little longer than the florets. When I prepared I sliced the stalk into carrot sized slices and cooked it with the carrots for the same length of time. Result…a sweet tasting extra veg.

Amazingly, in the spirit of this blog dinner for two cost less than £4 for ingreidients and nothing to cook.  This is because we have a small wood burning stove which can carry two large pans. One pan had the potatoes with the carrots, celeriac (all from the garden) and broccoli stalks in a basket to steam. The other pan had two lamb chumps, boil in the bag as used in pubs, which we had got from the market last week for £2.50. Twenty minutes later we were tucking into something which would have cost us £20+ in the pub.

Have we finished with Supermarkets yet? Not quite, our policy being only visit when out never just go shopping. So those Nectar points could come our way. If we exchange them for a £20 note (or an £18 one to say we all win) you guys get more for your non supermarket shop and we can get some more wine for the weekend.

Daddy’s Magic Cake Plate

So as you may know my family are giving up shopping at supermarkets – as the youngest (and best looking) member of ‘Team Pugh’ I could indeed see a little niche in the market! So in the foot steps of many who have gone before me (Mr Marks, Mr Spencer, Mr Sainsbury and Mr Morrisons) I have come up with a clever little plan to haul in some of my daddies hard earned cash! Now like any good sales idea some careful thought and preparation went before the grand opening and way back in August when my daddy reached the dangerous old age of 27 (imagine being that old, when he was born blogs were in small books called diaries and photos – well you could only take about 30 on any one film and you had to get them developed before you could see them – dark dark times) I presented him with what he deemed to be a lovely gift! He wasn’t wrong however like lots of the clever people who made supermarkets I had used a bit of cunning in order to make this the gift that kept on giving, only not to him as he thought but to me! Ha ha now I have your attention fellow babies (Daisy, I know your mummy and grandma read this blog so  listen up and turn your mummy’s baking skills and your daddy’s love of cake into cold hard cash)!

So get a mummy (or any other adult you like really who has 10 minutes and is able to write), get a plain plate and a ceramic maker pen (you can email me if you would like one – they are only £5.00) and ………. Write on the top ‘Daddy’s Magic Cake Plate’, I got mummy to draw a picture of a cake on it but what you put on it is up to you. Let it dry then turn it over and write the following.


  1. Place plate on kitchen work top
  2. Place £1 here (I got my mummy to draw the shape of a coin)
  3.  Leave for a few hours and a cake should appear

Leave this to dry for a few days and give to your daddy! You will also need a tin and eventually an off shore bank account in which to keep your takings!

My Funds

So you’ve given the gift to your daddy and he’s happy as he’s worked out he’s going to get cake whenever he wants it (especially good for mine as he can’t just pop to Sainsbury’s as from Monday) and here’s the magic he puts his pound out you then give your cutest face to your mummy and she sets to work making a cake (you have to supervise and you have to sit for a little time in a baby bouncer or bumbo but that’s business)! So daddy gets a cake, mummy gets the work and you well, erm……. get the cash! And the best bit about this is it happens time and time again probably until your at least as old as my daddy! So that my friends is the scam and like Mr Tesco you’ll soon be getting every 1 in 8 pounds spent in your household!

Money, Money, Money!

I reckon Theo Paphitis and his fellow dragons might think this one has legs of course it would also work if your daddy liked baking and your mummy liked cake. Or if your granny liked baking and your granddad like cake! Hang on a minute I’ve just had a thought this works with my daddy so why not widen it out and with Christmas just around the corner get my mummy to make 2 more plates except this time they won’t say ‘Daddy’s Magic Cake Plate’ they’ll say ‘Grandad’s Magic Cake Plate’!

Victim 1

Victim 2

Oh and one more thing if you are struggling with the making of the magic cake plate part feel free to drop me a line and for the sum of £10 including p&p I’ll con my mum into making you a plate with the message and design of your choice! This is of course an excellent idea for a Christmas gift!

Bye for now

Lizzie x